Of these 39 segments, however, one restaurant type dominates: More than seven out of 10 eating-and-drinking places are independent operations, and of these independents, seven out of 10 have fewer than 20 employees, says the association. At these restaurants, the head chef is likely also the owner, and thus the chief decision maker. Sometimes sole proprietors have investment partners who help with business plans and operations; others hire business managers.
From Bread to Business Loans
Regardless of who calls the shots, Riehle says that some challenges in the industry are shared by all restaurant owners, and they are, in order of importance: employee recruitment and retention; rising energy costs; and growing the business. Given that hiring and staff turnover leads the list, it’s no surprise that research from the National Restaurant Association indicates more than one out of four tableservice operators will increase the portion of their budget allocated to training in 2006. And it’s just as logical that 56 percent of table service operators have purchased energy-saving equipment in the past two years.
But the range of offers that appeal to restaurateurs expands from the operations side of the business to the individual’s passion for food. Nancy Spielmann, senior account executive at list management and brokerage firm Statlistics, reports that everything from cookware to credit cards to high-end food magazines do well with this audience. And, she notes, depending on the type of list selected, the offer even could be for some waterfront property. “Nation’s Restaurant News goes to the franchisee/chain store owner set. You could have a realtor somewhere in … Iowa who wants to bring a chain into the area,” she explains.
Liz Jackson, an account executive with list management and brokerage firm MeritDirect, manages the Restaurant Hospitality magazine list. The kinds of continuations she sees tend to be from food industry magazines and trade shows, office supply firms, HR resources, specialty food purveyors, computer hardware/software companies and, of course, banks.